Marcher’s Diary Day 23-25 – Bristol Visit

Jarrow March for Jobs in Bristol

While most of the Jarrow Marchers recuperated in Coventry, 7 Jarrow Marchers (Ian Pattison from Leeds, Matt Dobson from Dundee, Sean Figg from London, George from Nottingham, and Lizi Gary, Ryan and Bobby Cranny from Newcastle) headed down to Bristol to meet supporters and mobilise interest for the national demonstration on November 5th in central London. We were greeted on the evening of Sunday 23rd October with a gig at the Grain Barge put on by the TSSA and Unite trade unions.

On Monday 24th October morning, Jarrow Marchers went out with Youth Fight for Jobs supporters from Bristol to leaflet commuters about the Jarrow March for Jobs. 50 people are occupying ‘College Green’ outside the council building in Bristol as part of the international anti-capitalist protests inspired by Occupy Wall Street in the USA, the Spanish indigandos and the Greek enraged, and the revolutions in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. Youth Fight for Jobs and the Jarrow March has sent solidarity to the occupy movements around the world; Paul Callanan (Youth Fight for Jobs national organiser and Jarrow Marcher) spoke at Occupy London Stock Exchange on Saturday 22nd October, and there will be somebody from Occupy Wall Street speaking at the Jarrow March end demonstration on November 5th in London. The Jarrow Marchers were also invited to the Unite the Union South West Regional Committee, where victimised trade unionist Paddy Brennan from the Honda plant was also in attendance. Paddy was due to find out the result of his employment tribunal on Tuesday 25th October. Jarrow Marcher Matt Dobson addressed the Unite Regional Committee and showed the links between the issues that Unite members are facing in the recession and as the cuts start to bite, and the demands and programme that Youth Fight for Jobs and the Jarrow March is putting forward.

Matt said, “The Jarrow March is a good way to get young people and the trade union movement talking to each other, showing young people the importance of trade unions. We support the electricians’ protests by Unite members. These are young construction workers involved in the dispute. They’ve been apprentices who were promised that after their training they’d be part of the Joint Industry Board (JIB) agreement, which won’t be the case if it’s undermined.”

Matt also spoke to a Unite rep at the meeting from Rolls Royce, who said, “I’m worried the experience of trade union organisation won’t be passed on to young people, because they’ll be excluded from manufacturing jobs lost.”

In the South West, Unite the Union is putting on a coach from Bristol to the national demonstration on November 5th that leaves at 8:30am from Anchor Road. The coach is obviously free for Unite members and the unemployed, and just £5 for everyone else. For more details contact the South West Youth Fight for Jobs regional organiser, Tom Baldwin, on 07986951527 or

The Jarrow Marchers also visited CWU and FBU trade union members, receiving huge amounts of support and donations for the Jarrow March for Jobs.

Matt also addressed an National Union of Teachers (NUT) Young Members meeting, “Teachers were blamed for the riots for not educating young people properly, which isn’t the case at all. We fully support the pensions strikes and we will be encouraging school students to walkout and join the picket lines on November 30th.”

The Jarrow Marchers then went leafleting in Stokes Croft in Bristol for a Youth Fight for Jobs public meeting. Stokes Croft was the scene of rioting earlier in the year. At the heart of the causes of the riots have been the cuts to youth services, leaving whole communities of young people with no hope of a decent job, education, or future. As a result many no longer feel part of society. Youth Fight for Jobs calls says that in areas where rioting has taken place, those local councils should be demanding that the money that has been stolen by the Con-Dem government, should be immediately returned to reopen closed youth services, reinstate sacked staff, and reinstate EMA; to end the conditions that create rioting.

Youth Fight for Jobs put on a public meeting of 26 that evening with Jarrow Marchers Ian Pattison and Lizi Gray speaking, as well as Mark Dowson from Occupy Bristol. Mark said, “I want to see an end to this government, as quickly as possible. I’d like to see the people of Bristol unite and fight against the government, in defending our public services. Hopefully, we can radically transform the system. Personally speaking, I’m not interested in reform anymore, the whole system is rotten. It’s up to us to work together to bring about something that’s more representative of our need needs, hopes and aspirations. What that system will be, I’m unsure, that’s why we’re inviting people from Bristol to join us in our discussions, and hopefully formulate a plan of action that’ll bring that about.”

Mark also said, “I support the Jarrow March for Jobs, because I understand the struggles faced by young people, not only in the North East, but throughout the whole country. I believe the only way we can bring about the better future, we all deserve is through non-violent direct political action. I find the fact that young people have embraced the history of the Jarrow March is a real inspiration, and I back it 100%!”

Jarrow Marcher, Lizi Gray from Newcastle, who is the great-granddaughter of one of the original 1936 Jarrow Crusaders, spoke on both BBC Radio Newcastle and BBC Radio Bristol on Monday.

At the public meeting, Lizi said, “every city we’ve been through, the level of support has been amazing, and it really shows that nobody want a return to the 1930s, with cuts really starting to hit communities. The fact, 75 years on from the original march, we’re having to make the same journey to get our message across to the same system of government that is destroying this country’s livelihood and taking away all support for its people; I think the 200 marchers from 1936 would be appalled. Like many young people, I’m scared for my future and this generation is going to be the first who will be worse off than their parents. This system clearly isn’t working, and we can’t just take these cuts lying down.”


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